Microsoft's Windows Share Falls, Snow Leopard Gains, Report Finds

Microsoft's share of the operating system market fell by 0.31 percent in September, according to new data released by statistics firm Net Applications. At the same time, the percentage of those using Macs increased, with 18.45 percent of Apple users having upgraded to the new Snow Leopard operating system. Microsoft is ramping up a massive campaign for the launch of Windows 7, due for general release on Oct. 22.

Microsoft saw its share of the operating system market fall in September, even as Apple gained thanks to users' adoption of Snow Leopard, according to statistics firm Net Applications.

Those respective gains and losses were relatively small, however, with Microsoft's share dipping from 93.06 percent in August to 92.77 percent in September, a dip of 0.31 percent. Over the same period, Mac share rose from 4.87 percent to 5.12 percent, a gain of 5.13 percent.

Since November 2008, Microsoft has consistently stayed in a market share range between 94.41 and 92.77 percent, with an incremental trend downward between those two points. Mac started in November 2008 with 4.12 percent, eventually trending upward over that 11-month period by exactly one percentage point.

Windows 7, Microsoft's new operating system due for general release on Oct. 22, occupied 1.52 percent of the overall operating system market. It originally broke the 1 percent barrier in August. According to Net Applications, Windows XP remains the most-used operating system in the world, at 71.51 percent, followed by Windows Vista at 18.62 percent. Mac OS X 10.5 rounds out the top three with 3.03 percent. Some 18.45 percent of Mac users have upgraded to Snow Leopard, Apple's new operating system upgrade released on Aug. 28.

Methodology-wise, Net Applications claims that it collects data from the browsers of those visiting Websites belonging to its network of clients. All told, the firm says it pulls data from "approximately 160 million visitors per month."

Throughout October, Microsoft will ramp up a huge publicity campaign around Windows 7, which the company needs to be a success to help bolster a bottom line dampened over the previous few quarters by the two-year recession. During the fiscal fourth-quarter 2009, Microsoft saw its year-over-year revenue decline by 17 percent to $13.10 billion, roughly $1 billion below Wall Street estimates.

On Sept. 29, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer suggested during a company event in San Francisco that the adoption of products such as Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will be necessary for IT administrators striving for greater efficiency during what he termed an "economic reset."

"I think IT is going through a period of new efficiency," Ballmer said. "In the new economy, it's 'with less, do more.' Yet at the same time, there's a lot of pressure for new applications, new innovation."

Microsoft is hoping that IT administrators will see the release of Windows 7 as an opportunity to upgrade their infrastructure, prompting a massive tech refresh that will buoy the bottom lines of the partners within Redmond's ecosystem.